Ways Nursing Professionals Can Keep Themselves Protected from Infectious Diseases

November 3, 2022

Nurses work near patients. It means while they’re inspecting patients, they can also contract the infection. For any hospital, the safety of the medical staff is of utmost priority. If nurses fall sick or get infected, not only in the hospital at risk it is also a source of significant loss for them. While safety manuals and measures are in place, only through the collaborative effort between nurses and the hospital can maximum safety be achieved?

One of the leading hazards in hospitals is infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are transmissible diseases that spread from one person to another. They can be airborne or through a vector such as a mosquito go from one person to another. The pandemic of 2019 is an excellent example of airborne infectious disease. While nurses were rushing to administer care, the staff also showed signs and symptoms of the virus. To ensure situations like these never arise again or are more manageable. Here are some precautions nurses can take:

1. Learn More from Online Resources

Nurses can easily educate themselves about the latest trends and precautionary measures described by WHO from online resources. There are numerous tasks a nurse handles in a day. Often, it is easy to overlook safety measures while performing those tasks. So, going online and studying different courses benefits nurses and helps them keep essential points about their profession at the back of their minds. Hospitals can further facilitate learning by keeping workshops and training courses to help the staff learn better and more effective health care methods.

Furthermore, if nurses want to study more, online education allows them to study further along with their regular duties. They can choose any degree or certificate to upgrade themselves. For instance, they can opt for post-masters nursing certificates to top up their education and gain a competitive edge in the nursing field.

2. Change PPE Frequently

While nurses may wear PPE, it is equally important to note that these gears need changing and you need to purchase the quality  PPE  product from contourmd.com. Infectious pathogens such as viruses can cling to surfaces. So while a nurse moves from a sick to a healthy patient, they may transmit the disease. That’s why before they change workstations, they should ensure they’re wearing a fresh pair of gloves, masks, and goggles. However, this also needs to happen in an organized manner. PPE supplies can quickly diminish if the medical sector is not careful about their usage. Nurses should ensure when they put on PPEs, they should check similar patients. For example, if a nurse checks patients with Dengue, they should only change gears when checking noninfectious patients.

3. Dispose Equipment Safely

Dispose and Seal equipment safely. While carrying out medical treatment, nurses may need to dispose of equipment properly. It includes separating needles and syringes. Ensuring the needles go into quick disposal and syringes go into another disposal basket. Equipment such as thermometers needs sterilizing, and all protective gear needs to go into proper bins for disposal. Nurses can’t allow stray equipment to hang around. Not only can they accidentally injure themselves, but they may also injure a patient and expose them to infection. Nurses should also ensure blood bags and bags with other bodily fluids get adequately sealed. These bags should also be separate from each other since cross-contamination can occur and another disease outbreak.

4. Get Tested

There is always a chance that despite taking safety measures, nurses may still fall sick. It happens when they accidentally inhale or get pricked by a needle. It is essential to get tested in such cases to ensure that they haven’t contracted the disease. For example, suppose the patient has HIV. The nurse accidentally pricks their finger on the same needle, and the test for HIV comes back positive. In that case, they may need to start taking medication right away. It also helps nurses get themselves tested after checking highly infectious cases, whether they have a mishap or not, to make sure they’re in the clear. Sometimes unknowingly, you may be stewing an illness, and by the time you find out, it may be too late.

5. Follow Hospital Guidelines

Hospital policies and guidelines are in place to help nurses and the medical staff treat patients and take care of themselves effectively. It also informs the staff where the nearest cleaning stations are and when a nurse should take a shower before heading home. It is not smart to avoid these guidelines. These are set in place after copious research and statistical data to ensure minimum casualties in the workplace.

For example, during the pandemic of 2019, hospitals took it upon themselves to release videos on proper handwashing. While this looked simple, it kept a large sector of the population from falling ill. It also informed both the public and the health care workers where they went wrong with something as basic as hand washing. Another important hospital guideline is safely disposing of medical equipment. Nurses should learn and refer to the chart as frequently as possible if they work in clinics all day and administer care to numerous patients. It ensures that nurses don’t accidentally expose themselves to disease while taking off their protective gear, such as touching it accidentally with bare hands.

6. Use medical screens

Medical screens are indispensable to provide patients with much-needed privacy while reducing the risk of hospital infections. There are many company’s engineering, medical screens that are lightweight, portable and affordable. Browse online and discover medical screens that protect patients, doctors and nurses too. 

7. Sanitize Frequently

The hospital can get very busy. In such circumstances, washing hands may not always be possible. For a nurse, the next best bet is to sanitize frequently. When nurses sanitize their hands, they take care of any pathogens that might be on them. This solution is not only better, but it is also far more effective than checking another patient with dirty hands. Nurses will also touch many surfaces such as tables, clipboards, and different equipment in their work. There is also a chance they’ll come across other medical staff and shake hands with them. So taking into account all these measures, the hospital should keep sanitation stations throughout the hospital or provide nurses with pocket sanitizers. Something as simple as hand sanitation can potentially save lives.

8. Avoid Work If Sick

If a nurse feels sick, they should stay home and recover. Pushing themselves may worsen their symptoms and make them susceptible to other diseases. Hospitals should also enforce strict policies on the medical staff taking leave if they’re sick. It will keep other healthcare workers safe. Still, it makes sure they rest instead of pushing themselves harder and exposing patients to their disease while contracting new ones.

Wrap Up

The nursing sector is extremely patient intensive. Nurses come into context with patients far more than anyone else in the medical sector. Therefore there is a need for them to protect themselves, especially against infectious diseases. Infectious diseases are transmissible, which means if a person gets it, they will pass it around. Nurses can’t afford to do that. An infected nurse means there’s a high probability there will be a disease outbreak in the hospital. So nurses need to follow safety guidelines and measures while actively educating themselves to stay safe. It means they should take care of their hand hygiene as well as the equipment they touch. If little by little attention goes into these critical factors, the sector as a whole can stay safe.

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